Indeed, the greatest game ever played

ARDMORE, Pa. — Why do I love golf so much? Let me count the ways. A big part of it is the people. Golfweek Senior Writer Jeff Rude and I got to travel to Ireland on the back end of the 2002 Ryder Cup to tour the northwest coast of the country and play a little golf (oh, that part of the job is OK, too). It was one of the best trips of my life.

When we were there, we met a kind pro at Enniscrone Golf Club – an Irish Pebble Beach that cost the equivalent of about 50 U.S. dollars to play at the time. His name was Charlie McGoldrick. As Jeff and I stood in the pro shop shooting the breeze with Charlie one morning back in ‘02, it was literally raining sideways outside – and a local man stood on the green practicing 5-foot putts as if it were 80 degrees and sunny. It’s a scene I never will forget.

Nor will I forget meeting Charlie, who was so kind to us. So it was nice to see his smiling face across the ropes at Merion Golf Club on Saturday at the Walker Cup. He is here looking after the lone Irishman on the team, Niall Kearney, who won one match on Saturday and lost another.

McGoldrick has fallen in love with Merion, and somebody asked him to compare it to his course at home in County Sligo, which is a marvelous course that winds through the sandy dunes.

“Well, here at Merion,” Charlie said, “you have risk and reward holes. At Enniscrone, we have risk and reload holes.”

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